FCS Financial Data Breach Alert | Console and associates, PC

Recently, FCS Financial, a major agricultural lender based in Missouri, announced that it suffered a data breach in April of this year, exposing the personal information of thousands of employees and consumers. Data breaches such as the one reported by FCS Financial pose a serious risk of identity theft and other financial loss to all affected consumers.

If you have received a data breach letter from FCS Financial, you may wonder if you have been affected by the breach and what the consequences of the breach might be. Privacy and data breach lawyers are currently investigating the FCS Financial data breach and can help those affected understand what is at stake and whether they have legal remedies against the company.

FCS Financial Data Breach

On June 16, 2021, FCS Financial discovered that on April 18, 2021, an unauthorized third party had accessed documents containing the personal information of more than 85,000 people. According to the data breach notice published by FCS Financial, affected parties include consumers and employees. A notice was sent to all potentially affected parties on September 17, 2021.

FCS Financial explained that the information consulted included:

  • Lastnames and firstnames ;

  • Physical addresses;

  • Email addresses;

  • Phone numbers;

  • Social security numbers;

  • Driver’s license numbers;

  • Account information;

  • Tax identification numbers and IRS identifiers;

  • Dates of birth;

  • Information on health insurance; and

  • Medical information.

The extent of the information exposed during the breach was significant. Unfortunately, FCS Financial has no way of knowing what information was actually accessed by the unauthorized third party. However, given the nature of the compromised data, the risk of identity theft is certainly very real to anyone who receives the FCS Financial data breach letter.

The company reports that it has discovered no evidence that the unauthorized party misused consumer information that was exposed during the breach; As a precaution, however, FCS Financial is offering a free two-year membership in a credit monitoring service to anyone whose information has potentially been exposed.

Below is a copy of the text of the notice issued by FCS Financial:

Dear [Customer],

Based on your current or previous relationship with FCS Financial (“FCS”), we are writing to inform you of a recent incident which may have involved some of your personal information. We have no reason to believe that your personal information has been misused for the purpose of committing fraud or identity theft. However, since your information may have been affected, we are providing you with this notice with advice on what you can do to protect yourself, if you feel it is appropriate to do so.

What happened?

FCS recently experienced a data security incident involving some of our IT systems. A subsequent forensic investigation determined that an unknown third party had acquired certain data from our systems, including documents that may contain some of your personal information. While we are not aware of any cases of fraud or identity theft resulting from the incident, we have conducted an internal review to determine the content of the documents accessible to the unknown third party.

What information was involved?

On June 16, 2021, our investigation determined that the documents acquired by the third party contained personal information about a number of people who worked with or for our association. Subsequently, other information received during the investigation indicated that additional personal data of individuals may have been included. As a precaution, we are providing a large and detailed list of information that may have been involved. The type of information differs from individual to individual and we cannot say for sure whether this information was viewed for a particular person. However, the information concerned may include your name, address and other contact information such as your email or telephone number; Social Security number; Driver’s license number; or financial information such as account information, tax identification number, or unique identifier related to IRS. For a limited number of people, the incident may also have involved their date of birth, health insurance information, or medical information.

What do we do?

After learning of the incident, we promptly restored the affected systems and conducted an initial investigation into how the incident had occurred and contacted the appropriate authorities. We also hired a leading forensic security firm to investigate the incident and confirm the security of our systems. In addition, we have taken steps to reduce the risk of this type of incident happening again in the future, including implementing additional technical controls. We have chosen to make a broad notification of the security incident to alert people who could potentially have been involved. While we have no evidence that your information is being used for fraud or identity theft, we do offer you a free two-year subscription to Experian IdentityWorksSM Credit 3B. This product helps detect possible misuse of your personal information and provides you with identity protection services focused on immediate identification and resolution of identity theft. IdentityWorks Credit 3B is completely free for you and signing up for this program will not hurt your credit score. For more information on Identity Theft Prevention and IdentityWorks Credit 3B, including instructions on how to activate your free two-year membership, please review the additional information provided in this letter.

What can you do?

More information on how to protect yourself against identity theft or fraud can be found in the attached Important Additional Information Sheet. We also encourage you to activate the credit monitoring services we provide to you.

Other important information:

FCS is committed to protecting the privacy and confidentiality of our customers and members of the community. We take our responsibility to protect your personal information seriously and apologize for any inconvenience or concerns this incident may cause. For more information and assistance, please call 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Central Time, Monday through Friday, excluding certain public holidays in the United States.

How can I protect myself from the FCS financial data breach?

If you have received a data breach notification from FCS Financial, this does not mean that your information has necessarily been viewed by a third party or that you will be a victim of identity theft. However, it is a possibility. And while federal and state laws provide some protections for victims of data breaches, there is no guarantee that you will not be held responsible for any unauthorized activity. So, it is important that you take the following steps to protect yourself.

  1. Read the entire notice to determine what information has been exposed;

  2. Sign up for the free creditor monitoring service offered by FCS Financial;

  3. Change your passwords for all online accounts, using unique passwords for each site;

  4. Notify banks and credit card companies of the violation;

  5. Frequently check your bank accounts for signs of unauthorized activity;

  6. Frequently check your credit report for signs of identity theft; and

  7. Set up a fraud alert with one or more of the three credit bureaus.

Can you sue a business after a data breach?

The laws surrounding liability for data breaches are complex; However, in recent years, several large companies have been prosecuted for mismanaging consumer information exposed as a result of a data breach. If your information has been accessed by a hacker or other unauthorized party, it is imperative that you understand your legal rights and remedies, even if you have not yet discovered unauthorized activity. An experienced consumer privacy lawyer can familiarize you with your rights so that you can protect yourself and make an informed decision on how to proceed.

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